This is one of the worst floods in Indian history and is still continuing. Yes, the floods in Jammu and Kashmir have been unprecedented. More than 460 people died, around 1 million people have been evacuated and many still await help. The heroes engaged in the relief operations are our khaki and olive green brothers in the Indian Army and their counterparts in the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, and the National Disaster Response Force.
Strange but true, Indian Army had never been looked upon with respect and admiration by the Kashmiris since a very long time. The people of Kashmir had never had good relations with them. They had always been targeted as invaders by the local people there.
This time, there has been a mixed response from the people of the Kashmir valley. While there is one group of people which is criticising the army for inadequate relief, there are many others who have praised them for saving their lives.
Resentment against the army
There is anger among one section of the flood-affected people. The intervention of the State Government is very disappointing. The CM has declared this as a national disaster and more help should come from the Centre. The local people are angry with the CM and other political parties and also the army. They have accused them of not doing anything to rescue them. The State police force is also not being able to do much as most of the police stations are submerged in water. The people had complained that they got stranded for many days. Some complained that they remained stranded on the roofs of their houses for 4 days.
All their frustrations were directed towards the army people. Army personnel and army vehicles were pelted with stones. There were a few who also mobbed the soldiers they came with food supplies. Air Force helicopters with relief materials could not land. The crowds became aggressive in certain areas. This has been a major blockade in the relief operations. The people are complaining that they are not getting relief supplies on time. They are blaming the army for delayed rescue operations.
Praise for the army
While some are blaming the army, the devastating floods have also changed the views of many people. And for the first time, there are a few who are praising the army. Putting their lives in danger, the armed forces are trying their level best to rescue and provide relief to the flood-affected residents of Kashmir. Distress messages are continuously being sent to the army. To tell the truth, the actual relief operation started only after the Army’s intervention. More than 80,000 people have been rescued so far. Food stuff, medical supplies and other essential things are distributed among the flood affected people. The Army personnel are reaching out to the people by air planes, by boats, and by road. Stranded people are taken to safer places. The army men are working non-stop and risking their lives.
We salute our armed forces
No doubt, people are upset and under these circumstances, they need to vent out their anger and frustrations. But, please not on the army. In times of any natural calamities and disasters, it is these armed forces that are of big help to the people, irrespective of caste, religion, State and background. The same holds true for Kashmir too. In times of distress, instead of being angry with them, we should co-operate with them. This situation should be an eye-opener for the people of Kashmir. The army is for every one of us and not for a particular State. The army will continue with its duty towards its countrymen and doesn’t need anyone’s thanks and gratitude.
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